Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011) Review

Time: 133 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt
Jeremy Renner as William Brandt
Simon Pegg as Benjamin “Benji” Dunn
Paula Patton as Jane Carter
Michael Nyqvist as Kurt Hendricks
Anil Kapoor as Brij Nath
Léa Seydoux as Sabine Moreau
Director: Brad Bird

Blamed for a terrorist attack on the Kremlin, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and the entire IMF agency are disavowed by the U.S. government, while the president initiates the Ghost Protocol. Forced to go “off the grid” — left without resources or backup — Hunt must somehow clear the agency’s name and prevent another attack. Complicating matters even more, Ethan must undertake the impossible mission with a group of fellow IMF fugitives whose actual motives are suspect.

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Recently I’ve been watching the Mission Impossible movies (in reverse order) in preparation for the latest instalment (Fallout) to be released. From what I can tell, before 2011, Mission Impossible wasn’t doing so great as a series. JJ Abrams salvaged the series from extinction with 3 but it wasn’t a huge success. Despite that, Paramount Pictures were keen on developing a fourth film. It’s in 2011 when the next instalment would be created by director Brad Bird of The Incredibles fame. Ghost Protocol was a huge success when it came out and for good reason, it’s a fresh spy movie with Brad Bird’s direction playing a large part in its success. While I don’t consider it to be the best movie in the series, it’s still rather solid and memorable as both an action movie and as a Mission Impossible.

On top of being thrilling, Ghost Protocol is also really funny, you really feel the tonal difference from the other Mission Impossible movies and it really works here. The previous movies in the Mission Impossible series seemed to be mostly the Tom Cruise show, 1 and 3 had some of that but here they really work as a team throughout the entire movie. Outside of the first 30 or so minutes, the film is split in two parts, one is the Dubai segment, and the other is the climax in India. The Dubai segment is great, filled with great tension, action and suspense. What works so well is that you really feel like these characters are on their own and vulnerable. It seems that pretty much every Mission Impossible movie consists of the main characters (or Ethan Hunt at least) being hunted down, on the run and vulnerable. However Ghost Protocol really shows them as being a little vulnerable and in difficult situations. This movie goes all out with some of the gadgets, but despite how impressive some of the gadgets are, many of them don’t work perfectly, some of them don’t work at all. Even the mission reader that Ethan Hunt gets with the message starting with “Your message, should you choose to accept it” and ends with “This message will self destruct in 5 seconds” fails to successfully self destruct. Even though you know that by the end of the movie everything will be alright, Ghost Protocol is very effective with its tension. Ghost Protocol does have a slight issue, the movie really peaks at the Dubai segment. While the rest of the movie is still pretty good, it doesn’t live up to the previous act and is relatively decent but lesser in comparison. The plot can be a little convoluted at times but not enough to bring down the movie. I’m not really sure that it’s a problem but despite the movie being over 2 hours and 10 minutes long, it feels much shorter. However I feel a large part of that is due to the structure. There seems to be a location each for the last two acts, which feels very jarring compared to other movies where it takes place in multiple places.

The cast are all good, as I previously said, there wasn’t as much emphasise focussing on a team in previous movies. Now however they are developed adequately enough and get a lot to do. Tom Cruise as usual is effortlessly good as Ethan Hunt, delivering on playing the character as well as the physical stunts, absolutely fearless in the things that he does such as the Burj Khalifa tower climbing scene. Simon Pegg was introduced in Mission Impossible 3 in a smaller role, here he gets to do quite a lot more. Paula Patton and Jeremy Renner also do their parts rather well. The team all worked together very well. The villain is played by the late Michael Nyqvist, who is a really good actor. However his character wasn’t that great. His performance is good and the character does have a good setup but the problem is that aside from two scenes in the first act, he’s really just in the climax, and we aren’t given enough time with him. So by the end he ends up feeling rather flat. A supporting villain played by Lea Seydoux does much better in her role.

Until Mission Impossible: Fallout, the tradition was for each film in the series to be directed by a different person. With each Mission Impossible film you can really see each director lend their style to the film, Bird is no exception, who made his live action film debut here. His direction is a big reason why you are constantly interested and entertained throughout. The famous Burj Khalifa climbing sequence still holds up very well today, absolutely tense throughout. However Bird is also good at creating tension during the non action scenes as well. The action scenes themselves are pretty good themselves, from the fight scenes to the chase scenes. The movie does have a really good look to it. There was some explosions in the first act of the movie that looked a little fake but outside of that there wasn’t anything really distracting about the effects.

Mission impossible Ghost Protocol 7 years later is still a really good movie. Brad Bird has made a very entertaining and thrilling movie which still holds up very well. There maybe some minor issues but its not enough to really take away from the overall enjoyment of the movie. I still think that Rogue Nation is the best movie to date (Fallout could change that), but Ghost Protocol still holds up as being one of the highlights of the series.

1 thought on “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011) Review

  1. Pingback: Mission Impossible Movies Ranked | The Cinema Critic

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